A northern group, Arewa Mandate Initiative (AMI) has thrown its weight behind a southerner emerging as the successor to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The group also picked All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to succeed.
They also picked Transport Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Interior Minister, Rauf Aregbesola among others as likely successor to the president.
The group, in a statement signed by Malam Muhammad Mubarak, FCT Coordinator and Alhaji Aminu Mohammed, Sokoto Secretary, noted that from investigations it carried out, majority of APC youth groups in the north are in support of power shifting to the south in 2023.
The group noted that those aspiring to contest the presidency in 2023 should shelve such ambition to honour the gentlemen agreement reached by the APC in 2015 that after Buhari, power should shift to the south.
The statement said: “Flowing from our engagements with various All Progressives Youth groups, across the North, the Arewa Mandate Initiative, AMI, wishes to announce that majority of the APC members support that the presidency should move to the south after President Muhammadu Buhari leaves in 2023.
“This consensus was reached after months of serious consultations with the youth groups and major stakeholders in the party, spread across all the three geo-political zones of the North-West, North-Central, and the North-East.
“The Arewa Mandate Initiative, which has been spearheading the support for power shift to the south, had conducted three major rounds of surveys among the APC supporters, on the 2023 presidential power shift, and found that majority of the APC family fully support that power should move to the south in line with the gentleman agreement reached by the leaders of the party in 2015.
“In line with this popular demand, the AMI hereby wishes to urge those who might be nursing the presidential ambition from the North to shelf the idea in the interest of our party and national unity.
“While the Arewa Mandate Initiative, recognizes the right of all Nigerians to seek for any elective office of their choice as this is a constitutionally guaranteed right, it would however urge northern politicians to let go of their presidential ambition, as part of their own sacrifice for the unity and stability of Nigeria.
“The AMI, in furtherance of the search for a president from the south that could match the pedigree and patriotic credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari, has beamed its searchlights on some individuals that may be the choice acceptable across the board, for the north and south.
“Though certain individuals in the south have been identified as likely choices for the presidency, the Mandate group has decided to keep things under wraps, for now, to allow for wider consultations.
“As part of its assignments, the AMI, has initiated talks/discussions with high ranking members of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, with a view to having a consensus on a presidential material acceptable to the North, as the general elections draw near.
“Among the names that the Arewa Mandate Initiative and the support groups are considering from the south-south, include, former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN, the Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr Timipriye Sylvia, Minister of Transport, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, and the Minister of Niger Delta, Chief Godswill Akpabio, and from the South-West, includes names like Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Minister of works Raji Fashola, Governor of Ekiti, John Kayode Fayemi, and Minister of Interior, Rauf AregbeShola.
“Similarly, the AMI is also looking at names like the Minister of Science and Tech, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, former Governor of Abia, Dr Orji Uzoh Kalu, Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, and the former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, from the South-East.’